So much has changed in the world of air conditioning in recent years that if your system has almost any significant breakdown—or if it’s just not keeping you as cool as it used to—it may be worth replacing it instead of repairing it. 

For example, as of 2010 - HVAC manufacturers must use a new kind of refrigerant that’s not an ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon. And a new system can use less than half the electricity of your old one while doing a far better job of keeping you cool and comfortable.

If your air conditioner is more than eight years old, repair is probably not worth the expense, unless it’s a simple problem like debris clogging the condenser unit or a worn fan belt. Otherwise, you should strongly consider air conditioning replacement. 

Assess the Efficiency of your Current AC System

Even if your central air conditioner is just eight to 10 years old, it could use up to twice the electricity that even a low-end new one would use. That’s because it operates at or below 10 SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is the amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Until 2006, 10 SEER was standard, but these days, the minimum allowed by federal law is 13 SEER. That translates to 30% less electrical consumption and 30% lower cooling bills than equipment installed just a few years ago.

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